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G911 World Exclusive - Gambling Law Expert Says Phil Ivey Not a Cheater

Written by:
Thomas Somach
Published on:
Apr/15/2014
G911 World Exclusive - Gambling Law Expert Says Phil Ivey Not a Cheater

The man known as the world's foremost expert on gambling law tells Gambling911.com in an exclusive interview that what Phil Ivey did while playing baccarat at the Borgata casino is not cheating because, "It's up to the casino to make sure that there are no readable markings on the backs of cards."

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Gambling911.com on Tuesday spoke with I. Nelson Rose, an attorney and professor at Whittier Law School in California who teaches classes in gambling law and is considered the world's top expert on the subject, about the Phil Ivey case.

Ivey last week was sued by the Borgata casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA, for millions of dollars in baccarat earnings that he won at the casino two years ago and that Borgata claims he won fraudulently by using a cheating scheme called edge sorting.

Edge sorting involves noticing subtle differences in the designs on the backs of playing cards and using that information to recall values of cards and bet accordingly.

"Edge sorting has been around for decades," Rose told Gambling911.com. "I was called in as an expert witness in a marked card case and one of the first things I did was look to see if there was a pattern to the design on the back of the cards. 

"Cheats can easily create a deck of cards they can read by buying many decks of cards with a simple pattern, like diamond shapes, and then creating a single deck where, say, only the ten-count cards have full diamonds in the corners."
But in a casino, he said, it is the responsibility of the casino to make sure everything in a game is ship-shape, not the player.

"It is up to the casino to make sure that there are no readable markings on the backs of cards," Rose said. "I remember touring the Sands Casino in Macau the month it opened and looking into the room where employees destroyed cards after a single use.

"Ivey used information available to all players," he said. "By definition that was not cheating."

Rose's interpretation of the case may carry some weight if and when the lawsuit sees a courtroom.

Rose, 64, has testified as a prosecution or defense witness in dozens of criminal cases involving gambling and has also testified in numerous civil lawsuits involving gambling.

He has also authored several books about gambling and the law, writes a gambling law column for his website GamblingAndTheLaw.com and there is a waiting list to enroll in his classes, which draw prospective law students from around the world and are the only gambling-specific law courses offered at any American university or college.

BY TOM SOMACH

TOMSOMACH@YAHOO.COM

GAMBLING911.COM STAFF WRITER

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